Jeb Ward is an attorney who specializes in whistle blower, David vs. Goliath, type cases. He finds a client who is suing an auto company over a safety problem that has had a severe effect on his life after the accident. He must replace the current atorney and be ready for trial quickly, and then he finds that the defense atorney will be his estranged daughter.
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I had this movie on tape and wore it out. I was so happy to see that it was available on DVD.It has some really GREAT acting, has some funny and sad moments and a really great ending.
Reviewing a movie 20 years following its release is a curious task, asit entails a reflection on its content not merely as film, but as acomment woven of how the movie compares against similar films, and alsofilms of the era from which it originates. "Class Action" serves twomasters - those of courtroom drama, and those of family drama. Itserves neither especially well.Courtroom drama is often used as a metaphor for a broader moralityplay, weighing different varieties of good and evil, or merely rightversus wrong. Done well, courtroom drama is capable of producingauthentic conflict that forms the basis of outstanding films, such as"A Few Good Men" and "Presumed Innocent," where the core conflictreflected a measure of unease about the kind of justice the filmsoffered, and asking the viewer to consider whether their results wereright. "Class Action," however, aspires to no such heights, tossing upa legal softball in the form of a thinly-veiled fictionalization of thefamed 1970's Ford "exploding Pinto" design. With the legal drama paper thin, the characters that tell the storyrapidly become strawmen caricatures, and hollow becomes the familyconflict between Gene Hackman's Jedediah Tucker Ward and his daughterMaggie, played by Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio. Where Hackman'scharacter is a clichÃ©d 60's counterculture throwback, Mastrantonio's isthe equally clichÃ©d corporate attorney. The story allows for nosubtleties, and the conflict is decided before the first frame isfilmed.The film's middle third delves into too many tightly-shot, overwroughtemotional introspections, and Mastrantonio looks at times exceedinglyuncomfortable in the role of an attorney. One can't help but wonder ifthe cast overcompensates for what it knows is a contrived story, tryingto manufacture interesting conflict where the film's end-game can,minus the details, reasonably be predicted. On its face, the drama between Mastrantonio and Hackman is marginallycompelling, but so heavily directed by Michael Apted it makes one wishthe characters hadn't been drawn in such a starkly one-dimensionalmanner so as to allow the viewer the chance to contemplate who holdsthe moral high ground in their personal life, and, more broadly, intheir opposite-ends perspectives in the legal system. As it is, a fewscenes of anger and rage, militated by the superfluous introduction ofthe death of Maggie's mother along the way, merely serve to insist theviewer agree with the film's predetermined conclusions. The resultleaves the conflict empty, and the viewer only marginally interested.The courtroom conclusion provides for its own interesting trapdoorresolution, which won't be revealed here, and that alone does provide"Class Action" the kind of end-game pop it desperately needs. The"pop," however, isn't enough to overcome the hard characterizationsthat force the dramatic point, rather than allow it to form in theheart and mind of the viewer.
Seeing is believing! Worth watching! Watched it with my daughter and we both enjoyed it immensely.
One of the worst films about law, or, for that matter, anything else.terrible performances, directing, photography, and most of all, script.Not one trace of realism. the person who wrote and/or directed thisdisaster has never been in a courtroom. Only And Justice for All is apoorer legal drama. Embarrassingly bad. Anybody who likes this filmshould have his/her head examined.to make this review comport with theguidelines, this movie stinks, stinks, and stinks. Hollywood formulasgone haywire, and Gene Hackman should be put out to pasture. also, as alawyer, I am offended by this portrayal of the legal system: actually,its worst than this, but a realistic touch would have nice.
Another court room drama - well, in a manner of speaking yes. "ClassAction" is more of a family drama that makes use of the court room asan arena where attorney Jedediah Tucker Ward and his daughter MaggieWard clash.The movie shows flashes of riveting brilliance, but it is mostlyinconsistent and ultimately the story is predictable. Direction fromveteran Michael Apted is pedestrian, Colin Friels in a supporting roleis uninspired and Gene Hackman is well below par. The rest of the cast,which included Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio and Laurence Fishburne, arethere for the ride.Friday, April 26, 1991 - Hoyts Midcity Melbourne
I am sick and tired of the totally predictable corporate bashing that makes this totally predictable movie. There is an idealistic, decent class-action attorney, and there is the evil octopus that is the motor company. Guess who is the hero!
Gene Hackman has done so many movies under his acting belt that it isnt even funny. I have seren most of everything he has done. A great film and character actor he is. Every time he is in a movie I weant to see it. I saw this and now I own it on VHS! A great film about a family of lawyers. Don't miss this one. Another great film.
This formulaic court-room drama is saved by stand-out performances by GeneHackman and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio... and others including LaurenceFishburne.The relationship, reaction and interaction between the two leads isbelieveable and not over-done.Definitely worth a rent...
This subdued courtroom drama starts out like an extended episode ofL.A. LAW but quickly reveals itself as the unheralded gem it is. GeneHackman is as solid as ever as a fervent lawyer battling an auto giantaccused of manufacturing a faulty model. The twist is that his rivalattorney just happens to be his self-reliant daughter, played by MaryElizabeth Mastrantonio.CLASS ACTION is not a flashy, fill-up-the-screen-every-minute kind offilm. But it is a quite compelling effort. The courtroom storyline iscaptivating, with director Michael Apted expertly showing the case andits various twists and turns from both sides. Anyone who was glued tothe set anytime L.A. LAW came on be in heaven.Then there's the family dynamic. Hackman and Mastrantonio areconvincing as the father and daughter. He seems to know everything andshe wants to prove that he does not. They begin the film miles apart intheir relationship and it seems a tense court case will further drivein the wedge between them. It's a plot line that works well and helpselevate the film.
Sometimes I'm left with the impression that viewers think all filmsshould be award winning material, as though the goal and worth of afilm can be judged by the amount of award nominations it generates andbrings home. I disagree, a good film should entertain, and that is whatthis film does very well. Nice on location sets give the film anauthentic and attractive feel. The acting is top notch. The two mainoverlapping stories, the father & daughter relationship and the legalbattle, tie in very nicely. This is a solid film that draws the viewerin and keeps his/her attention until final scene. There are many waysto waste two hours, this film is not one of them.
This review is from: Class Action (DVD) "Class Action" is a film I first saw on VHS back in the '90s. I've always felt it was a very underrated film. I asked my new wife if she'd ever watched the film and she'd never heard of it. I was surprised to find that I could get it on DVD at such a great price. Thanks Amazon!!!
This review is from: Class Action (DVD) TWO FINE ACTORS TRY HARD TO MAKE THIS FILM WORK, BUT WHAT LET'S IT DOWN IS THE DEVELOPMENT AND PLOT OF THE STORY WHICH, THUS LEAVING NO TENSION TO GIVE THE AUDIENCE THE WILL TO CONTINUE ON. SOMEONE NEEDS TO TALK TO THE WRITER
Gene Hackman and Mary Elizabeth Mastroantonio are involved in a "ClassAction" in this 1991 film that also stars Laurence Fishburne, DonaldMoffatt, Joanna Merlin and Fred Thompson. Hackman and MEM, father anddaughter, are both attorneys. "I raised you," Jed (Hackman) yells atMaggie (MEM) during one scene. "Mom raised me," she screams back. "Youhad a date." Maggie's resentment over her father's infidelity eruptsafter the death of her mother (Merlin) in a powerful scene. AlthoughMaggie has tried to reconcile with him, she finds there is too much inthe way. Maggie is in an ethical quandary when the law firm she worksfor wants to suppress evidence about an automobile manufacturer'smalfeasance; complicating things is that her father heads the team theother side of the case.This is a very good movie that emotionally rings true, thanks to a goodscript and fine performances by Hackman and Mary Elizabeth. I had thepleasure of working with Mary Elizabeth when she was a Broadway actress- a lovely woman with a great talent, shown here to excellentadvantage. Grieving for her mother and unable to accept her father'slove, she is blindsided by her boyfriend/boss' ethics violation and hasnowhere to turn. The viewer can really feel her pain. Hackman iswonderful as a shark attorney who loved his wife deeply but made someunfortunate choices and alienated his only child. He finds himself nowvulnerable and confused; Hackman expresses these emotions beautifully.There is able support from the top-notch cast.Compelling and at times powerful.
The movie is SLOW initially, and you cant ever decide if the Lawyer played by Gene Hackman sincerely care for the plantifs or if he simply likes winning lawsuites. it Sheds a VERY Negative light on the legal profession.
As a fan of Hackman, Mastrantonio, and courtroom drama, I thought thismight be another overlooked chestnut that might repay viewing. Well, Ienjoyed the film thoroughly - but it was not really courtroom drama. Soif that is what you're looking for, go elsewhere. People are incourtrooms, and there's some cross-examination, but that is not thecore of the movie. The core is a story about a father-daughterrelationship, and the ups and downs that the relationship can take.Criticized for being 'predictable' or 'smarmy', I found it to be a warmand occasionally humorous take on a plot that may have been presentedbefore, but certainly bore presenting again, and I enjoyed the filmvery much.Apted's directing is effective, though never innovative. The actors areall good - in fact, it is to their credit that they made simple linesand dialogue so effective. Hackman, of course, as always,is theprofessional he always is, and in Mastrantonio he has an actress whocan take his words and put her own spin on them. Supporting cast isvery solid, the music is early James Horner (good, but again nothingbrilliant), setting and atmosphere were both average. Overall, not a movie for a guy and his girl to watch, but a great moviefor that girl and her father to watch. It would've been a greatall-rounder if the drama had been in the court-room...
This review is from: Class Action (DVD) Gene Hackman has had a wonderful career filled with hit movies. This movie is not as well known as some, but it is very good. It has morality, intrigue, and a surprising but fulfilling ending. I recommend it.
I still find it kind of a coincidence that this was aired here on thecable the day before Fathers' Day here. Father Jedediah Ward (GeneHackman) and daughter Maggie (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio) are bothlawyers and coincidentally, they are on the opposing ends of a majorcourt case.From the start, one can see that Maggie is very driven to be successfulin the lawyers' circles given she told her boss she wanted to take onthe case because she is very aware of the company the law firm sheworks for represents. And her colleagues then told her that her fatheris the plaintiff for the case. Now this drove the daughter to outwinher father in the courtroom even more.All the estrangement actually went back to the time when Maggierealised her father is not faithful to her mother. So whenever theypassed by each other, Maggie often never gave her father one look.After Mrs Ward's passing, father and daughter reunite each other for awhile...but! The old issues all came back.And when along the way in researching for the case, an obstacleappeared and it almost led Maggie into trouble. Jedediah thought hisdaughter is almost in trouble and they managed to clear out some thingsbetween each other. It even led to surprising events which happened onthe day of the big court case.For me who has always been interested how lawyers always go about theirwork, this is a nice introduction. Father-daughter relationship is alsobeing explored here. That is why I said about the movie on cable theday before it's Fathers' Day today here.
Some deep soul searching will aid in facing your personal demons. But youstill have a job to do. This movie is entertaining, but predictable. Theexcellent acting redeems the whole thing. Father(Gene Hackman) anddaughter(Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio) lawyers become adversaries in alawsuit against an auto manufacturer that has knowingly produced cars thatexplode when rammed from behind. Both stars exhibit their skills to thehilt. Laurence Fishburne and Joanna Merlin provide notable support. Thisfather and daughter relationship provides some heated moments and animatedreactions. Their banter gets a little tiresome, but it is needed to makethe movie work. You be the judge and jury.
This review is from: Class Action (DVD) This is a very good film, but it is fatally flawed from a realism standpoint. The gimmick of this film, of course, is the notion that opposing lead counsel on two sides of a huge civil litigation case would ever pit father against daughter. No client would stand for it, and this film shows why they should not. The ending is unrealistic, and while it may comport with Hollywood's notion of justice and doing the right thing, any lawyer has to be aghast as to this conclusion.The sappy family angle in this film detracted from what could have been a better film. What saves this one from a three-star rating is the first rate portrayal of courtroom tactics and the discovery battles between the law firms. Both are startlingly accurate (in total contrast with the ending--no spoilers here) and I enjoyed this part of the film immensely. RJB.
Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio is a striking beauty, high cheekboned, widemouthed, and with eyes so far apart that if they were any farther apartshe'd lose binocular vision. Her features are so chiseled and herperformance here so inanimate that with little trouble a ribbon couldbe draped across her frame and "Buonarroti" carved into it. GeneHackman turns in his usual sturdy performance. Colin Friels asMastrantonio's boss projects a certain oiliness and gives theimpression that he's giving it everything he's got. There is a long-standing conflict between ex-radical Hackman and his1980s materialistic yuppie daughter. He represents a number of peopleinjured or killed in collisions involving a defective car. Sherepresents the auto makers. One side is humanistic and aggrieved. Theother side is evil, underhanded, unethical, mean, exploitative, andgenerally smarmy. I leave you to guess which side is represented byHackman and which by the auto industry in this courtroom flick. Two questions. First, if you're an attorney, right, and your clientgives you some damaging information and you squeal on your client andtell the other side, isn't that illegal? I understand that in somestates the prosecution must disclose its evidence and witness list, butis it the case the other way around? Is it ethical for the plaintiff tosecretly transmit information to the defendant? Question one and ahalf: Do I have those terms right? Second question, when did "versus" become abbreviated as simply "v"instead of "vs"? Is this a conspiracy designed to make me feel out ofdate and foolish? (I'm going to call my lawyer; they've been doing thisto me all my life. I hardly had time to get used to "estate tax" andnow they're trying to change it to "death tax.") There's an interesting trick pulled on the defense at the end of thistrial, but man the film takes a long time getting there. I'd like torecommend this film if only because of Hackman's presence in it, but Ireally can't. That would surely be perjury or misfeasance orfirst-degree mopery or something. Want to see a good flick about asimilar subject? It's inaccurate, so everyone says, but "The Verdict"is as good as they come.The first half of "Class Action" is chiefly concerned with familydynamics -- the conflict between the ambitious corporate daughter andthe ex-radical idealist father, with the sensible and loving motheracting as mediator. It's really manipulative. The second half actually deals with the class action suit against theauto makers who produced something like the Ford Pinto that blows up ifyou look at it cross-eyed. It's informative. The bean counters at thecorporation figure it's cheaper to pay off some chump money tocomplainants than it is to retool the production line and fix theproblem. So there are a couple of hundred deaths? What can you say --it's a human tragedy. But, wow, is it preachy. And the sermons come inrechauffe homilies -- "How much does a man's dignity cost? You takeaway his wife, his children, his body. I guess a few dollars more for acouple of eight by ten glossies doesn't cost much." The lines couldhave been written by a Magic 8 Ball.Well, any viewer not given to intense introspection or carefulattention to manipulativeness will finish the movie feeling mighty goodabout himself or herself for having been on the side of the angels allalong. If that's the kind of mellow glow you're looking for, you'llfind it here. Perversely, sometimes that's EXACTLY what I need, so Ienjoy watching it once in a while.